One of Nissan’s most popular SUVs, the Pathfinder, received a significant update - is it enough to remain relevant?by Khris Bharath, on
Nissan unveiled the all-new fifth-generation (R53) Pathfinder back in February. It was scheduled to go on sale in the summer. Well, the wait is finally over. The Pathfinder went on sale earlier this month.
This model has been overhauled from the ground up. It receives a far more rugged exterior and a modern yet functional interior. There are four trims to choose from. S, SL, SV, and top-spec Platinum.
Regardless of the trim you go for, there’s only one powertrain on offer - a 3.5 liter V-6 with 284 horsepower. Nissan has ditched the old CVT in favor of a ZF sourced 9-speed gearbox. One can option up AWD for an additional $1900. The towing capacity remains one of the best in class at 6,000 pounds.
Believe it or not, the Pathfinder, back in the day, was not all swoopy and curvaceous like the fourth-gen model. The first three generations were all truck-based. They wore a butch look which was very appealing.
But come 2013 and Nissan took the plunge of going the cross-over route with the Pathfinder. The 2013 Pathfinder switched to a Front Wheel Drive unibody platform. This did have benefits in that it improved fuel economy and freed up more room. The design, however, was forgettable, to say the least.
With this latest fifth-gen model, Nissan is bringing back some of that rugged appeal of its predecessors.
Gone are those smooth-flowing crossover lines. In comes a design that is far more upright with pronounced squared-off wheel arches.
The front end is bold and handsome with a large grille. The rear, dare I say resembles a Land Rover Discovery Sport. The Pathfinder name spans the width of the tailgate. Dual-tone paint is also an option on the new Pathfinder.
Step into the interior and what catches your attention almost immediately is the improvement in Quality. The same boxy appeal of the exterior carries into the cabin as well. The design is ergonomic and the control; intuitive.
Unlike several automakers ditching buttons altogether, Nissan continues to offer them. Buttons still do the basics like climate and radio. Depending on the trim, the seats can be had with either fabric or leather on the Higher-spec models.
The base model gets an 8" touch screen. Models up the range will get a 9" unit, a 12.3” digital instrument panel, and even a heads-up display. Smartphone connectivity, wireless phone charging, and a wi-fi hotspot are other notable features.
|Front||2nd Row||3rd Row|
This is where the New Nissan Pathfinder really shines. Under the hood lies a gas-powered 3.5-liter V-6 that blends performance with economy.
It produces 284 horsepower and 259 foot-pounds of torque. Now, that might not sound like a lot but it offers more power than the outgoing V-8.
The highlight though has to be the omission of the CVT. Nissan has chosen instead to go with a 9 Speed ZF sourced unit. This will definitely improve the driving experience from behind the wheel. Nothing like having those cogs. The Pathfinder wears all-season tires. A wider track and a reworked suspension will aid in its on-road manners.
Towing capacity is at 3500 pounds on the base model and a strong 6000 pounds on higher trims. This is a big number with only the Dodge Durango fairing better at 8700 pounds.
|Horsepower||284 @ 6,400 rpm|
|Torque (lb-ft)||259 @ 4,800 rpm|
|Transmission||9-speed automatic with manual shift mode paddle shifters|
The Pathfinder can be had either as a FWD or an AWD. The AWD system is optional right from the base trim. There are several different drive modes to choose from which include Snow, Sand, Mud & Rut. There is even a separate tow mode.
You can switch between these modes using a new rotary dial. The AWD system is far more potent than the outgoing model. It has the ability to do a 50:50 torque split between both axels.
Combine this with hardware like hill descent control and superior ground clearance. We now have a vehicle that is far more competent off-road.
|Angle of approach||16.1 degrees|
|Angle of departure||15.6 degrees|
|Breakover angle||20.9 degrees|
|Coefficient of drag (Cd)||0.324|
The main appeal of Pathfinder remains with families. The cabin comes with thoughtful touches and cubbies for storage and added practicality. There’s USB charging in all three rows.
The Pathfinder comes with captain’s chairs in the second row except for the base model. There is an improved third row with enough room for three adults. Getting in and out is not a problem though. Thanks to those rear doors that open wide making it super easy to access the third row. The cargo volume is also generous at 17 cubic feet.
Safety & Tech
The safety tech on the new Pathfinder is right up there with the competition. Nissan’s 360 Safetyshield Suite comes with several driver aids. They include features like lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, and auto emergency braking.
Higher-spec models will get adaptive cruise control with Navi link. This system has the ability to modulate the cruise control system on the fly using maps.
2022 Nissan Pathfinder Price
The base model sees an increase in price by up to $2000. There are four trims to choose from S comes in at $34,560, SV at $37,350, SL at $40,740 and the range-topping Platinum trim comes in at $47,430.
Nissan is throwing in everything under its stride to outdo its rivals. Styling that is far more appealing and a smartly done interior make it a far more compelling package.
Now combine that with superior performance, better off-road hardware, and competitive pricing. Looks like Nissan is onto something with the Pathfinder. It is finally up to speed and poses a serious threat to the competition. options to choose from.